Background: Trisomy 1q and monosomy 3p deriving from a t(1;3) is an infrequent event. The clinical characteristics of trisomy 1q41-qter have been described but there is not a delineation of the syndrome. The 3p25.3-pter monosomy syndrome (MIM 613792) characteristics include low birth weight, microcephaly, psychomotor and growth retardation and abnormal facies. Case presentation: A 2 years 8 months Mexican mestizo male patient was evaluated due to a trisomy 1q and monosomy 3p derived from a familial t(1;3)(q41;q26.3). Four female carriers of the balanced translocation and one relative that may have been similarly affected as the proband were identified. The implicated chromosomal regions were defined by microarray analysis, the patient had a trisomy 1q41-qter of 30.3 Mb in extension comprising about 240 protein coding genes and a monosomy 3p26.3-pter of 1.7 Mb including only the genes CNTN6 (MIM 607220) and CHL1 (MIM 607416), which have been implicated in dendrite development. Their contribution to the phenotype, regarding the definition of trisomy 1q41-qter and monosomy 3p26.3-pter syndromes are discussed. Conclusion: We propose that a trisomy 1q41-qter syndrome should be considered in particular when the following characteristics are present: postnatal growth delay, macrocephaly, wide fontanelle, triangular facies, frontal bossing, thick eye brows, down slanting palpebral fissures, hypertelorism, flat nasal bridge, hypoplasic nostrils, long filtrum, high palate, microretrognathia, ear abnormalities, neural abnormalities (in particular ventricular dilatation), psychomotor developmental delay and mental retardation. Our patient showed most of these clinical characteristics with exception of macrocephaly, possibly due to a compensatory effect by haploinsufficiency of the two genes lost from 3p. The identification of carriers has important implications for genetic counseling as the risk of a new born with either a der(3) or der(1) resulting from an adjacent-1 segregation is of 25% for each of them, as the products of adjacent-2 or 3:1 segregations are not expected to be viable.